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Novel calibration tools and validation concepts for microarray-based platforms used in molecular diagnostics and food safety control


Commercial platforms consisting of ready-to-use microarrays printed with target-specific DNA probes, a microarray scanner, and software for data analysis are available for different applications in medical diagnostics and food analysis, detecting, e.g., viral and bacteriological DNA sequences. The transfer of these tools from basic research to routine analysis, their broad acceptance in regulated areas, and their use in medical practice requires suitable calibration tools for regular control of instrument performance in addition to internal assay controls. Here, we present the development of a novel assay-adapted calibration slide for a commercialized DNA-based assay platform, consisting of precisely arranged fluorescent areas of various intensities obtained by incorporating different concentrations of a “green” dye and a “red” dye in a polymer matrix. These dyes present “Cy3” and “Cy5” analogues with improved photostability, chosen based upon their spectroscopic properties closely matching those of common labels for the green and red channel of microarray scanners. This simple tool allows to efficiently and regularly assess and control the performance of the microarray scanner provided with the biochip platform and to compare different scanners. It will be eventually used as fluorescence intensity scale for referencing of assays results and to enhance the overall comparability of diagnostic tests.

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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (grant BMWI-23/10).

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Correspondence to U. Resch-Genger.

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Published in the topical collection Reference Materials for Chemical Analysis with guest editors Hendrik Emons and Stephen A. Wise.

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Brunner, C., Hoffmann, K., Thiele, T. et al. Novel calibration tools and validation concepts for microarray-based platforms used in molecular diagnostics and food safety control. Anal Bioanal Chem 407, 3181–3191 (2015).

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  • New reference material
  • Microarray
  • Fluorescence
  • Standard
  • Calibration slide